The Importance of Being Prepared
You might be thinking you don’t need an emergency plan. Your diabetes is well controlled and you feel safe in the knowledge that you are not going to keel over due too much or too little glucose in your blood.
Unfortunately, diabetes is a capricious beast and there are so many factors that can affect your sugar levels adversely — it’s really important to have an emergency plan in place that you share with your nearest and dearest.
One very simple thing you can do is to make sure you always carry information about your condition and any medication you take. You can buy specialist jewellery or wristbands, but a note in the front of your diary, in your mobile phone or on a slip of paper in your purse or wallet would be better than nothing.
Other practical steps include the following:
Have Emergency Snacks
Create an emergency pack of snacks and medication and make sure you always have it to hand. It’s no good in the glove box if you take ill in the mall.
Include some carbohydrates like cookies — you can buy packets with portions of two cookies wrapped together — or potato chips. You could also include dried fruit, a cereal bar, glucose tablets or a glucose or sweet drink — diet versions will not help!
Check Your Levels
If you start to feel unwell tell anyone who is with you and do a quick blood pinprick test to see how low your sugar levels are. If you are insulin dependent administer an appropriate dosage to correct your level.
Check your blood glucose again about 15 minutes later and eat another snack if it’s not back to normal. Beware of eating too much sugary food or carbs as they could send your levels skyrocketing to the other extreme.
Make Sure Friends and Family Know
Tell your friends and family about your condition. Some of them might not even realize you have diabetes or if they do know, might not know what to do if you became ill unexpectedly.
Your healthcare provider might have leaflets you can distribute explaining what to do in an emergency, but to be on the safe side it’s probably wise to just advise them to ring an ambulance if you become woozy, sweaty, shaky, slur your words or become confused.
Obviously if you become fully unconscious you need to be placed in the recovery position, someone should call emergency services.
Next page: some tips for avoiding having to use your diabetes emergency plan.